Appleton WI found itself once again the host for the massive PGI convention and Dominator participated with not one, but two fully donated displays in support of the guild. Set up began a full week ahead of time with a crew of 20+ technicians pulling, matching and prepping product for a very difficult feat…back to back displays on the same night! Five days into the preparations brought us to Wednesday morning the day of the displays. We awoke at 5am to the sound of thunder rolling and rain sheeting down the hotel windows. Not thinking too much of it other than hoping the plastic protection held on our already placed product we raced to the track at first light to assess any possible damages. Upon arrival the infield of the race track was under 3′ of water all along the back stretch and unfortunately consumed a cope of the other companies frontage and topped some of the 3″ racks!
Ok, our damage was minimal so on with the days set-up. We were scheduled to shoot both a 1.4 and a 1.3 Pyro Musical at dark and had a mountain of work ahead of us. As the technicians started showing up and manning their respective tasks an eerie sound of rushing water grew louder by the minute and by 8:15 am a small creek behind the track was topping it’s banks and seeping onto the perimeter of the set up areas for the large displays. No one thought much of it as he water would have to rise another 6′ to really cause any issues. Well, fast forward 30 short minutes and the water had risen an amazing 10′ and we had a major flash flood in progress! Water had completely covered the drag strip where set up was taking place and was beginning to wash away racks and equipment. The water on the east end of the track rapidly became too deep to drive out, and within minutes the bridge on the west end of the track collapsed under the torrent of water.
Soon a shipping container began floating by and bouncing off telephone poles and a swift water rescue team was deployed and on site to assist with any emergencies. As fast as the water rose it also receded, but not before taking it’s toll on a large 1.3 pyro musical, about 70% of the displays professional fireworks was lost to water damage and all shows for that day were pushed back to the next day. Quickly regrouping and salvaging what we could of the product we pushed forward and were able to shoot an excellent pair of displays although somewhat shortened, with the cue count going from 4,000 down to around 2,700! It did not take long for the “I survived the flood” t-shirts to start selling and the week finished without another hitch. The videos below are the finished product of the weeks work with no clue of the story above that happened behind the scenes! All in all we were very pleased with the shows and judging from the crowds reactions so were they!